Seasons

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The club hit rock bottom in the year 2000. Closure was only just avoided in 1999 after the cash strapped NZRL came to the party late in proceedings with a $700,000 package to keep the creditors happy. The rescue package it's self had long term repercussions for the NZRL. With the clubs owners, Tainui, it's self in serious financial perial something had to give. The tribe Tainui made the decission to review all it's financial activities. Razor man Michael Stiaasny was hired by Tainui rescue the situation. One of the first places Stiassny looked for answers was the Warriors. The first casualties of the corporate under taker were Graham Lowe and Malcolm Boyle and their favourable co-ownership deal with Tainui with Tainui taking over the day to day running of the club. On the field the Warriors had one of their worst seasons on record, finishing second to last with only the North Queensland Cowboys having a worse season. Indicative of the season the Warriors were to have were three huge losses firstly to Canberra 12 - 56, then a club record loss to St George Illawarra 0 - 54 and then a 10 - 56 loss to Melbourne. For the Warriors the only recruitment the coaching and managment team were able to do was from the bargin basement with no really well known players brought to the club outside of Ivan Cleary and mid season, arguably Jason Bell mid season from the NSW premiership club the Newtown Jets.

Despite the best efforts of Tainui and corporate razor man Michael Stiassny the club by the end of 2000 was in absolute dire straights both on and off the field. The for sale sign went up outside of Ericsson stadium near the end of the 2000 season. Players wages wen't unpaid near the end of the 2000 and under fire Warriors coach Mark Graham quit just before the end of the season.

Eric Watson would be the man to save the Auckland Warriors from extinction and from themselves. Born in Christchrist in 1959 and rated as New Zealands 220th richests man in 2000. Together with investment partner Mark Hotchin the pair brought the ailing club and immediately rebranded the club with a new playing uniform and more importantly a new name. The New Zealand Warriors were born. The new brains trust of the club also began a search for a new coach and CEO. Many high profile names were linked to the newly named club but it would be unheralded Parramatta Eels lower grade coach Daniel Anderson that would win through for the head coaching roll with the club. The CEO role would be filled by Mick Watson, a man that would in later years with the club polarise opinions with some seeing him as a visionary and some seeing him as a cancer within the club. For most of Mick Watsons tenure as the CEO of the Warriors was a good one. However incident in particular still rankles with Warriors supporters to this day when the media got ahold of a story that Mick Watson was making an attempt to take the NZ Warriors to rugby union as a Pacific Islands Super 15 club. Later still Mick Watson was controversial marks regarding Asian immigration into Australia and New Zealand in New Zealand magazine The Listener. Eric Watson brought not only a high profile, riches, but glamour to the unfashable club who had fallen from favour with all but the most ardent of supports. The glamour was supplied by Nicky Watson (now known as Nicola Robinson after the pairs very public split). For several big name players 1999 was to be their last for the club and in the game completely. The clubs biggest name Matthew Ridge decided that he had had enough at the 1999 season and when the clubs finanical plight was put to him with a rider that the club could not afford his services for 2000 Matthew retired. Test hooker Syd Eru retired from the NRL and moved to Perth to work in the mines there and continue playing in the local Western Australia competition.  Other NRL players to depart from the club were Tony Tatupu, Brady Malam, Boycie Nelson, Carl Doherty, Peter Lewis, Bryan Henary with Shane Endacott also retiring but continuing to play in the Canterbury rugby league in Christchurch. The clubs player of the year was hooker Robbie Mears. The Warriors had feeder club arrangments with two Australian clubs in 2000. In Sydney the Newtown Jets feed players into the Warriors and in Queensland the Warriors had a reciprocal agreement with the Warriors and locally the Warriors loaned players out to Bartercard cup teams.

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